Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. verbally resigns from PDP-Laban
MANILA, Philippines — Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. has unofficially resigned from political party PDP-Laban, after he pinpoints former president Rodrigo Duterte as the person responsible for degrading and attacking the House.
During Monday’s session, the House convened as a committee of the whole to discuss House Resolution (HR) No. 1414 — which seeks to uphold the honor and integrity of the House.
However, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman raised several questions to inquire why the resolution is being discussed at the plenary, and who was the person behind the attacks against the House. Gonzales initially did not want to answer, but when he was prodded by Lagman, he first resigned from his post as national treasurer of PDP-Laban.
“May we know who uttered that statement? Was it a comic? Or a leader or previous leader of this country?” Lagman said.
“Well I think Mr. Chairman the gentleman from Albay knew, who is that,” Gonzales replied.
“Why is the name of accuser so sacrosanct that we cannot mention it before this body?” Lagman asked.
“I will answer the question of Congress of Albay, but before I will answer your question, Mr. President of the PDP party, are you here, Congressman Alvarez? The one who uttered that word is our chairman from PDP-Laban — before I will answer, I will resign now as member and officer of PDP-Laban — the former president Rodrigo Duterte, the one who said that,” Gonzales answered.
Initially, Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos did not name who was behind the attacks.
“I remember vividly there was a grave threat on the life of one of our members, the Honorable France Castro. But with respect to the whole House, was the integrity of the House challenged at any time during the break?” Lagman asked.
“Yes Mr. Chairman I believe it was put into question [….] I could not give you the exact date but I understand that it was done on a certain TV network and some words were said to malign the reputation of our institution,” Marcos replied.
“Could we put on record what words were used to malign the integrity of the House?” Lagman asked again, prompting Marcos to ask for a suspension of the hearing.
When the hearing resumed, it was Gonzales who answered Lagman’s questions, eventually name-dropping Duterte.
HR No. 1414 was deliberated on the floor after Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez made a speech on the resumption of the 19th Congress’ session. In his speech, Romualdez assured his colleagues that he will stand up in favor of the public’s interests, and against anyone who threatens the institution just to get what he or she wants.
According to Romualdez, the House may be composed of representatives with different mindsets and political principles, but it will always be united should it, or one of the members, be under attack.
Romualdez did not mention anyone who may be behind the attacks against the House, but it could be recalled that during the session break, former president Duterte launched tirades against the chamber and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.
In an interview with Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), Duterte called the House the “most rotten organization,” saying that the chamber is distributing pork barrel to different members. House leaders and officials however denied this, saying that the Supreme Court has already outlawed the pork barrel system.
Duterte’s statements came after the House ultimately decided to remove the confidential fund (CF) request for 2024 of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) — two agencies headed by the former president’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
OVP asked for a P500 million CF for 2024, while DepEd made a P150 million request. OVP’s CF bid was removed, while DepEd’s P150 million request was channeled to the assistance for teachers and students.